TL;DR: Influencers are leveraged by brands for both their creative value and loyal following. They can boost a brand’s image as their loyal followers place an extraordinary amount of trust in endorsements. When brands and influencers pair up, they produce the perfect storm for social media success. Influencers are not just the future of marketing — they are a new arm of distribution.
The influencer marketing train is flying full-speed ahead. Brands are readily jumping on board, throwing their growing social media marketing budgets towards the most influential names (or handles) in the game. From start-ups to Fortune 500s, this is a popular way to play.
But, before tossing your budget toward every Instagram account with 100,000 followers, take a step back and think strategically about which influencer is best for your brand. The right influencers will bring a new set of eyes to your content strategy, as well as an authentic voice to highlight your brand. To find these social media marketing gems, you need to stay familiar with the top macro and micro influencers. No need to stress over who to follow, we rounded up a list of the eight influencers to know right now.
Many of these big dogs have been playing the game since the beginning. Others have exploded onto the scene in the past few years. Regardless, these are the influencers who have over 100,000 followers and show no signs of slowing down. Follow these four for super smooth sponsored posts tossed into top-notch content.
The Gee Family
@thebucketlistfamily | 664K followers
🌎 Family of 4 Travel Journalists 🌏 We sold everything for an adventure around the world!!
The Gees are an average family of four living a far-from-average life. In 2014, Garrett and Jessica sold their things and set off for endless adventures abroad with their adorable two kids. Documenting their travels has garnered an impressive following. Take a look at their feed and notice how the photographic content captivates, while the accompanying copy drives home their personality. They are well versed in incorporating brands into their everyday conversation, seamlessly blending sponsored posts into their feed. Although their engagement rate speaks volumes, we can vouch that they are even more wonderful than they appear online having worked together in past projects.
Kiel James Patrick + Sarah Vickers
The photographic tale of New Englanders 🦊👕 Kiel James Patrick & his darling wife 🦊👗 @SarahKJP documenting their American Dream 🇺🇸
Kiel and Sarah have been running the social media scene for more than seven years. They are the ultimate all-American influencers, having amassed nearly 1 million followers together with an impeccable personal brand. Their content has remained consistent over the years, translating to an unwavering trust from their audience. When these two choose to collaborate with a brand, it is a true endorsement to say that it fits with their feed.
@mattcrump | 218K followers
🦄 50% unicorn, 100% man 🍭 Creator of #candyminimal 🌈
If you haven’t yet heard of Matt Crump, you need to dig yourself out of the dark hole you’ve been living in and discover his wonderful world of color. Matt’s bright content and witty captions combine for one of the most recognizable Instagram accounts. Even while working with brands, he doesn’t stray from his personal branding. You almost forget there is an #ad there. Look at the comments on his sponsored posts and you’ll even find people complimenting his ad content style. Even if a partnership with Matt isn’t the right fit for your brand, follow him now for guaranteed creative design inspiration.
Ben, Jamie, Mike + Barry of SORTEDfood
@sortedfood | 1.7M subscribers
Welcome to SORTEDfood ‚ we’re here to inspire you around all things food.
Started as a bit of fun by a group of old friends around a pub table, SORTEDfood has grown into the largest cooking conversation on YouTube.
Their bio may emphasize “inspiring” in the kitchen, but we would argue their top trait is entertaining in the kitchen. With 1.7 million Youtube subscribers, these guys are not your average foodie influencers. They bring their branded personality to every piece of content, even if it is #sponsored. We chose them for a Brand USA project because not only do they bring the views and comments (over 1,000,000 in our case), but they bring a professionalism that will make us want to work with them again and again.
@AtHomeWithNikki | 359K subscribers
I love all things dealing with home organization, interior decorating, crafts and cooking. On my channel you will find tons of tips to help you around your home.
Take a look at Nikki’s YouTube channel and you will instantly feel more organized. This sweet southern mother and housewife has an eye for interior design and a knack for creative cleaning. With over 33 million video views, she is rapidly becoming a vlogger to know. Her subscribers frequently ask for product recommendations in the comments, emphasizing their trust in her opinion. Any brand looking to reach household decision makers needs to get behind Nikki now.
While the macro influencers may have an enormous amount of reach with their many followers, micro influencers bring a unique set of skills to the table. As followers extend over 100,000, engagement peaks and declines in a bell-curve fashion. Micro influencers often sit in the sweet spot of the engagement bell-curve. While they have less followers, their following is engaging heavily with the content. These audiences tend to fit a similar type which can easily match the exact target market audience for your brand. Follow these three to see some top notch ones to watch.
@carleyscamera | 52K followers
travel + lifestyle photographer ∘ art director ∘ visual strategist ◐ LA based one half of @travelingcreatives
One hack for finding up-and-coming influencers is checking to see who celebrities are choosing to work with. Carley has captured the attention of celebs such as Lauren Conrad, and so captured the attention of a loyal Instagram following. Her feed is consistent and calming with an impeccable use of cool color tones. The brands she works with appear incredibly intentional and never out of place. Start scrolling her page and prepare for major photography inspiration.
@jacobthefu | 17.7K followers
Local Adventurer • Jacob Fu 🚀 Adventurer + Full Time Travel Blogger 🚗 Moving to a New City Every Year 🏘 ATLien in Portland, OR 🔻 Top 25 Travel Blog in the World
Jacob’s sense of adventure is infectious. Living in a new city every year provides him with a unique perspective as a travel influencer. He’s an expert in entertaining an audience, with years of YouTube vlogging experience under his belt. Look through his feed and you’re sure to crack a smile. Talent runs in the family, with his brother, Josh, building an impressive number of YouTube subscribers. We worked with Josh recently on a project and had a blast. To work with both brothers would be a bold brand’s dream.
@atasteofkoko | 40.7K followers
KOKO | Austin Food Blogger 🍾 Austin's Top Food & Travel Blog @VisitAustinTX restaurant expert --- 🌵 Austin 🔜 Tbd
Jane runs a successful food and travel blog from Austin, Texas. She most certainly has a way with words in her blog posts, but carries her talent to her food photography in Instagram. From mouth-watering food posts to luxe lifestyle posts, she packages a great mix of content themes into a refreshingly clean looking feed. What makes Jane stand out as a micro influencer is her use of premium content. She often creates cute video clips for her sponsored posts, entertaining rather than annoying the audience with advertisements.
As you continue to familiarize yourself with the influencer sphere, you’ll discover a variety of different strengths that have taken influencers to the top. These same strengths can bring impressions and reach to your brand with a strategic partnership. To achieve the results, you simply have to do the research. Here at Sparkloft, we have developed an extensive analysis process involving detailed rubrics to find the finest influencers for our clients’ needs.
Interested in learning more about how influencers drive results? Check out some of our past influencer projects.